Friday, 21 May 2010

May and the garden is full of birds, bees and blossom

Blossom on all fruit trees is transient – one very vigorous wind and it blows away on the breeze. And the colour of it is ephemeral too. Especially apple blossom, palest pink in bud it quickly opens to pastel confetti, sprinkling the lawn.

The pear blossom has been and gone – almost - but the quince tree blossom is in its prime with large open pink flowers. The largest crab-apple in my garden – planted before my time, its name unknown – is very tall and growing with a list. Like this its branches sweep to the ground and these are just one mass of blossom.

At the moment it is a buzzing mass. Best Beloved's bees think they have won the lottery. They cover it but when I try to take a photo of them I have to give up. They alight for a second, take a sip and on to the next one. Snacking. Unlike a bumble bee that will take its time over its sugary meal.

So I do hope that we will get honey this year. We had a very wet spring last year and at the end of the summer there was only enough honey left for the bees winter supply. This year, in spite of our freezing winter, the hive is thriving again. So, fingers crossed, they will keep up production.

They have plenty in the garden to feed on. The lilacs, with their pyramids of mauve and white flowers, waft their heady perfume on the air and there are even early roses in bloom. And many trees apart from the fruit trees are in flower. The most striking are the horse chestnuts – their panicles of flowers, either red or white, like candles on a Christmas tree.

This really is the most glorious time of year. Everything is burgeoning. The purple beech leaves are glossy and rich, the new lime leaves brightest green. The box hedging – waiting till Derby Day for their first haircut – are covered with soft growth. The leaves bright. On a day like today, when the sun is shining, there is not a lovelier place in the world to be.

Walking in the woods yesterday the cuckoo was in full song. Insistent. In time I’m expecting to find a few ejected chicks from cuckoos in the garden: nature in all its gritty realism. The garden birds have already produced their fist chicks.

I noticed a brown, baby bird - fluffy crown and open beak - on the table outside my kitchen window. No tail. A wren chick. Far too large. Then a robin flew up and fed it and that settled it. I thought. But it was so large - was it a cuckoo chick I wondered. Off it flew to the nearby hedge. Hours were wasted waiting for it to re-appear.

And the woodpecker has been a constant visitor. Woodpecker chicks are a hungry lot. You can hear them calling out from their tree. So the adults spend the entire day finding food and the nut feeder makes an easy and convenient store. Both parents rear the chicks – more often only one – modern parenthood.

I have just been on a mercy mission. A marauding woodpecker has chopped through the wooden roof of a bird box again – probably after the eggs. I noticed a blue tit still popping in and out of the box – strangely through the front hole although the box is now open to the skies. So when it was out I peeked in and there were dark little chicks, golden beaks open wide.

On the tit’s next foray I speedily covered the box with a square of plastic held on with a strap of lead. A bit of a mess but I had to be quick – no time for careful carpentry. Anything to save the chicks from certain harm. And I watched until the tit returned – paused for a while then went it. Hopefully they will fledge.

Earlier today there was a pheasant’s egg sitting in the middle of the gravel path. Such a lovely khaki colour, small and smooth. Where it came from I don’t know but there are bushes alongside the path so perhaps a pheasant hen had laid it there. Another one of those mysteries. But I've brought it in - rather than encourage egg stealers - and it now sits on my desk. A reminder of new life.



ALL THAT I AM said...

I love the garden you have, and the efforts you have put in, it looks amazing, and also you are doing a great job of taking care of the birds and their chicks as well.

Blossoms are looking very pretty.

Would love to see more pictures of your garden soon.

Take care.

Carla said...

What a lovely post. This is such a beautiful time of year.

We have two tailless speckled baby robin chicks in our garden, about the size of an adult robin but rounder and fluffier.

Lucy said...

Thankyou, I think this is the prettiest time of year. I shall post some more phots but beware, the garden is a wilderness!